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Comprehensive health care bill taken up by Wisconsin Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 10, 2008
CONTACT: Austin Guest, aguest@progressivestates.org, 212-680-3116, ext. 110 

COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE BILL TAKEN UP BY WISCONSIN SENATE

HEALTHY WISCONSIN PLAN BUILDS MOMENTUM AS NATIONAL MODEL FOR REFORM

Madison, WI - Healthy Wisconsin, a legislative package that would guarantee affordable health care to all Wisconsinites, is gaining steam as a national model for state health care reform.  As the revised Healthy Wisconsin bill (SB 562) had its public hearing today before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, the Washington State Legislature neared final passage of legislation authorizing a detailed study of a proposal modeled after Healthy Wisconsin.  

In January, Washington State Senator Karen Keiser proposed the Washington Health Partnership (SB 6221) which is modeled directly after Healthy Wisconsin.  To support the initiative and to lend his expertise, Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach, the lead sponsor of Healthy Wisconsin and Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, traveled to Washington State in January to testify before that state’s Senate health committee.

“Healthy Wisconsin is gaining steam as a model for state health care reform,”? said Adam Thompson, Senior Health Policy Specialist at the Progressive States Network, a national policy group that has been working to support state-level efforts at comprehensive health care reform. “As evidence that legislators in multiple states are taking note of Healthy Wisconsin’s approach to reform, the Washington legislature has identified it as a model for health care reform in their state.”?

The Washington Health Partnership proposal, which is modeled after Healthy Wisconsin, was identified as one of five models that will be studied by a legislatively created work group, as authorized by Washington State Senate Bill 6333.  The legislation passed the Senate and the House on Friday and is waiting upon concurrence by the Senate.

“If passed, Healthy Wisconsin will likely become the prime model for health care reform in states across the country,”? said Thompson.  “Wisconsin legislators are getting another chance to lead the nation, and they should jump on that opportunity.”?

Healthy Wisconsin stands out from other state initiatives by guaranteeing comprehensive health care coverage to all residents and establishing a uniform, affordable funding mechanism that is proportional to employers' and families' ability to pay.  The legislation enhances patient choice and control over health care and strengthens patient-doctor relationships.  Healthy Wisconsin creates an integrated health care system that can effectively tackle rising costs by, in part, using the buying power of state residents to wring inefficiency and unnecessary spending out of the system. 

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